Advent Live, Vol. 2 / Nethsingha, Choir of St. John’s College Cambridge
The sublime Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge return with the second volume in their Advent series - celebrating the advent season from within the Christian tradition; a season celebrated since at least the sixth century. This splendid live recording, from within the Chapel of St. John’s College itself, features Christmas favorites, including Britten’s Deo Gracias from A Ceremony of Carols as well as gorgeous performances of lesser known works by modern composers including Jonathan Dove, Arvo Pärt and Paul Manz. The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge (link is external) is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and over 90 recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. Alongside this discipline, the Choir is particularly proud of its happy, relaxed and mutually supportive atmosphere. The Choir is directed by Andrew Nethsingha following in a long line of eminent Directors of Music, recently Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson and Dr David Hill.
‘Advent Live, Vol 2’ is a real album, the mystery and expectation of Advent coursing through a repertoire that never stoops below this ensemble’s judicious idea of what constitutes high-quality music, whatever the century. There is unhackneyed Telemann, Wolf, Goldschmidt, Britten and some poised works, new to me, by McCabe, Milner and Manz. Cecilia McDowall’s A Prayer to St John the Baptist brilliantly unifies otherwise autonomous organ and choir. Judith Bingham’s introduction to Hark, the glad sound! is like a modernist narthex to an ancient cathedral. The qualities of the choir hardly need repeating. It sounds like a string quartet flexing as much as an organ breathing, with no room for show or antiquated ‘look at us’ habits.
Catalog Number: SIGCD661
Label: Signum Classics